Last weekend Tech hosted the ECC National Swim and Dive Championships at the CRC. Tech’s club swim team went into the weekend looking to have a noteworthy performance. Overall, the three day championship weekend was a victory.
“I felt pretty successful,” junior CiCi Zhang said, “because this is a transition year for us, so we had a new meet director for the first time and we ran it as a club.”
With a brand new meet coordinator, Tech’s club swim team had some kinks to work out throughout the weekend. Coordinating such a large meet is no easy task.
Meet coordinator Emma Siegfried explained, “I remember thinking in early February that we weren’t going to be able to pull this meet off, simply because it was so large. Last year over 1400 swimmers attended from about seventy four teams, and I thought with that number we’d be struggling to make sure everything happened according to plan.”
Despite all the worries, the meet was a huge success. Seventy five teams and over 1500 swimmers, participated in the championship meet.
Tech started hosting this yearly championship event eleven years ago, starting out with somewhere around 300 swimmers. The event has expanded and become more competitive over the years. Tech’s club swim team is always ready for a little competition and came into the meet ready to compete. The meet started off tough, but the Jackets persevered and all their hard work paid off.
“We pulled through, it was stressful at the beginning because we actually didn’t start preparing until February. Ideally we would start preparing in August right when the school year starts,” Zhang said. “We kind of had to put other teams first because we wanted them to have a good meet and to come back.”
The ECC meet was a good meet for all the teams that participated. The weekend went especially well for Maddie Sibilia.
Sibilia started off the first day of the championship with a first place victory in her first event, the women’s 500 yard freestyle on Friday. By Friday evening, Tech’s women’s team was tied with James Madison University for nineteenth place, not as high as they have placed in years past. Michael Quillen placed second to UVA’s Dirk Verheul, by three points in the men’s 500 yard freestyle. The men’s team was ranked eighth after Friday’s session.
The rough start for the women’s team on Friday impacted them on the second day of the championship. At the end of the day the women’s team held twenty second place. Sibilia qualified for another first place victory in the 1000 yard freestyle with a time that broke the meet record, but her performance wasn’t enough to propel the women’s team into a higher rank. The women’s team ended Saturday in twenty sixth place. The men’s team had a tough time in the second session of the tournament on Thursday as well. However, the men’s team was able to move up to seventh place by the end of the second session.
The men’s club team had forty eight events and the women’s participated in forty seven throughout the weekend. On Sunday evening Tech’s women’s team was ranked twenty second and Tech’s men’s team was ranked eighth.
At the close of the championship Jackets fans can be proud of Tech’s swim club and look forward to an even larger, more exciting ECC meet next year.
“It was a lot of fun,” Zhang said. “Teams already said they are looking forward to next year.”
The Jackets ended the club swim season on a high note. Fans can look forward to next year being an even better year. Club swimming at Tech is growing in numbers and success.